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Media: Biden expected to ask Congress for $100 bn package including aid to Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan

The Biden administration may request $100 billion in supplemental yearlong funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and domestic matters like border funding, according to anonymous sources cited by Politico and Reuters.
Biden Zelenskyy in Kyiv Mykhailivskyi monastery
US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, February 20, 2023. Photo: Ukrainian President’s Office
Media: Biden expected to ask Congress for $100 bn package including aid to Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan

On 17 October, Politico reported that the Biden administration is expected to ask Congress for at least $100 billion in supplemental funding to address Israel, Ukraine, and domestic issues such as border funding and disaster aid, based on anonymous insiders. Later, Reuters cited multiple sources stating that US President Joe Biden might consider such a request for defense aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan.

Reuters says the news broke as President Biden readied to leave for Tel Aviv and Amman to express solidarity with Israel following the deadly attacks by Hamas militants on 7 October, and to meet with Jordanian and Egyptian leaders to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

After President Joe Biden returns from his trip to Israel, the request is anticipated to be forwarded to Congress Hill as early as 20 October, Politico notes.

The funding levels, intended to span an entire year, have not been finalized and may vary, as several involved individuals told Politico. The request for a full-year funding explains its large size, according to two of the Reuters sources. 

Earlier, some US senators supporting Ukraine, from both sides of the aisle, advocated a yearlong aid proposal for Ukraine as the best way to overcome Congress upheaval.

While there’s a widespread consensus regarding aid to Israel, there’s a degree of skepticism, particularly among some House Republicans, concerning merging aid for Israel with Ukraine. Despite the complications in the House due to the absence of a speaker, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed support for the aid package, underlining its comprehensive nature, as reported by Politico.

“This is all interconnected,” McConnell said. “You’ve got the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Russians and the Chinese, sort of, on the same side against the democratic world, so there is a connection between all of this. I am not surprised, frankly, that the administration seems to be inclined to send up a broad package.”

Nonetheless, uncertainty surrounds the fate of any congressional legislation, given that the US Congress controls spending. Since Kevin McCarthy’s removal on 3 October as the House Speaker, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives has been leaderless and unable to pass any legislation.

In mid-September, a Pentagon spokesperson warned that US military aid and training for Ukrainian forces could be disrupted in the event of a looming US government shutdown.

On 30 September, Congress adopted a bill to prevent a federal government shutdown, leaving the approval of aid to Ukraine out of the deal. US lawmakers had to wrangle on a separate bill on $24 billion in military assistance to Ukraine that Biden wanted in the budget.

Biden admitted he was worried that political turmoil in Washington could threaten US aid to Ukraine, urging Republicans to stop their infighting and back “critically important” assistance for Kyiv.

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